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A Week In Winter

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A Week In Winter By Maeve Binchy Knopf, November 2012 The Irish speak English with a musical lilt, softening even the harshest words and syllables. The best Irish authors bring this magical musical lilt to their written word. In my opinion, Maeve Binchy is in that class of authors. Some paint pictures with their words, but Maeve paints life with her words. The reader cannot just “see” her characters in her mind’s eye, but experiences life right along with the characters.  The soaring giddiness of falling in love, the deep delight of parental pride, the pathos of betrayal, the comfortable silences ... Read More »

Until I say Good-Bye: My Year of Living with Joy

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At the age of 44 Susan Spenser-Wendel, a Palm Beach Post reporter, was told that she had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or as it is more commonly known, Lou Gehrig’s Disease. There is no cure for this disease and sooner or later it is fatal as muscles lose their strength throughout the body. Her first sign of there being something wrong was when she noticed that her left hand had gotten thinner and weaker. Many of us would give up all hope and rail against the unfairness of our situation. But Susan, with a husband and three children, decided that ... Read More »

Jack Grout: A Legacy In Golf

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As a non-golfer, I was attracted to the biographical aspect of this book. What I found was essentially a history of competitive professional golf in the US disguised as the story of one man’s life. I knew the meaning of eagle, bogey, birdie and par before I read this book but not much else. Now I know fade and draw, understand a bit about how integral the golf course design is to the players’ enjoyment of the game, and of course, the clubs. Per Jack Grout, “Just like there are no gimmicks in the swing, there are no magic clubs. ... Read More »

Gema Pearl’s “Mirror Mirror” Rocks!

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So good to be enjoying these cooler days and chilly nights, mostly because I know they won’t last for long. At least not down here, “South of where they thought south was…” Now, Music Notes doesn’t generally review albums, but, earlier this week, the brand new CD, “Mirror Mirror,” by local musician Gema Pearl, appeared on my desk. I had the pleasure of hearing her perform last year, so I knew it was worth a good listen.  Glad I listened, it’s quite a rockin’ record. Besides being well produced and mixed, the instrumentation and writing is original while staying well within ... Read More »

The Expats

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I have to tell you up front that, after reading various reviews about this book, there were varying feelings as to its worth. A good many people liked it a great deal. Almost as many readers were less enthusiastic. Those who were less enthusiastic seemed to dwell on details about the writing itself, which I found perfectly acceptable. There are a number of books on the best seller list right now that, in my opinion, do not have as good a story and are written in the style of some third class romance novelist. If you decide to take my ... Read More »

Danny Jo’s Delta Blues

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Nobody quite knows when blues music began, but what we do know is, without the blues, there would be no rock n’ roll, and man, the world would be a boring place without bloody rock n’ roll! This past week, I had the pleasure of attending the “History of Delta Blues” seminar by local blues musician, Danny Jo. It was both interesting and entertaining. As he told about early blues artists, he would play the songs that they were known for. All who attended seemed to enjoy the lighthearted nature and cadence of the “101” of Delta Blues. He explained ... Read More »

Little Wolves

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Maltman has taken an incident, the true story of a small-town Minnesota boy killing the local sheriff with a shotgun, and fashioned Little Wolves (Soho Press, 2012) into a captivating read. Sixteen-year-old Seth Fallon, Junior, took his shotgun, went to his teacher’s house, range the doorbell, and getting no response, walked on. He was stopped by the sheriff who while rolling down his car window was greeted with a shotgun blast to his face. Later that day, Seth was found in a field, having turned the gun on himself. This book is full of characters whose mundane intertwined outer lives belie ... Read More »

A Sweet Place To Jam

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Marco has always been a great place for entertainment. The breathtaking sunsets, the beautiful beaches, countless restaurants, bars, and nightclubs all add to it’s entertaining nature. Recently, the island has seen a resurgence in live music and evening entertainment. Driving across the big bridge onto the island, it is easy to see the new and improved look and feel of Marco. Continuing on down Collier Blvd, it’s hard to miss the Esplanade, a gorgeous bayside complex with all the amenities: dockside dining, clothiers, ice cream shops and more. That brings us to one of the island’s newest places to enjoy ... Read More »

Robert B. Parker’s Ironhorse

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By Diane Bostick dianebostick@comcast.net By Robert Knott G.P. Putnam’s Sons 2012 As many of you know, Robert Parker died in 2010. He published books with various main characters and after his death, his family, with the encouragement of his publisher I would imagine, decided to allow various other authors to attempt to write books in Parker’s voice, in my opinion, with varying success in their endeavors. His Spenser series has been taken over by Ace Atkins, his Jesse Stone series by Michael Brandman, and now his Virgil Cole western series is being written by Robert Knott. It seems to me that ... Read More »

The Hyssongs

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Submitted The Hyssongs travel full-time throughout the United States and Canada using the powerful medium of music. They will be performing at Wesley United Methodist Church on Sunday, February 17th 10 AM. Dell, Susan and Richard Hyssong encourage and delight audiences wherever they appear with their family vocal harmony, lively energetic style, humor, and brass instruments. This award winning trio consistently has top 40 songs on the radio charts. They perform more than 250 times each year in churches, auditoriums, gospel cruises and television and radio. During the last two years, they have sung more than 12 times at Dollywood, ... Read More »

“Do You Remember Your Spirit?”

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Review by Jane A. Marlowe A new book by local author, Dom Fiorda and Kendra Brady relates a story about someone who remembers his ‘Spirit Time.’ Ernest Spirit’s name was rather prophetic. When he was a boy, he didn’t realize that fact. He was named for his grandfather, Ernesto, who immigrated to America at the beginning of the 20th century. The custom’s officer who processed him through Ellis Island Americanized his name, Ernesto Di Spirito, to Ernest Spirit. In English or Italian, the name translates to mean “of the Spirit”… and young Ernest was ‘of the spirit’. As a child ... Read More »

Zero Dark Thirty

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By Monte Lazarus Bengoshi@comcast.net The beginning of “Zero Dark Thirty” is controversial and unsettling. Shortly after the first scene at the World Trade Center, the site changes. A CIA operative has an Al-Qaeda member in a dank dungeon – a “black site” – somewhere in Pakistan. It’s 2003. What makes the scene disturbing is the sequence of torture that takes place – slapping, naked abuse, waterboarding and ultimately forcing the prisoner, Ammar (Reda Kateb) into a tiny box. What makes the scene controversial is the question it raises. Some observers think it glorifies torture. Others believe it demonstrates that torture ... Read More »

Marco Writers Welcome Karna Small Bodman

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Submitted by Elinor Stanton The Marco Island Writers Group held its first 2013 meeting on January 9, at the Marco Island Center for the Arts. Chairperson Joanne Tailele opened the meeting with an inspirational quote by Debby Millman and followed with several announcements. The group continues to grow as four new members and two guests introduced themselves. The planning committee is undergoing reorganization, and Ms. Tailele will be taking over the group’s computer and website needs. She also noted that a new lending library, with Lorre Trytten as librarian, is available for members to lend, borrow and share their favorite ... Read More »

Laugh out Loud with Knights of Columbus

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By Natalie Strom natalie@coastalbreezenews.com On Saturday, February 9, The Knights of Columbus will have you laughing all night long as they host an evening of entertainment featuring comedian Tim Walkoe. Sign up for this one-day event and chuckle in the name of children’s charities supported by The Knights of Columbus. If you haven’t heard of Tim Walkoe, you may as well be living under a rock. The Grand Prize winner of ABC’s “America’s Funniest People” has been on HBO, Showtime, A&E, TNN, PBS and much more. A headliner of over 100 comedy clubs nationwide, including the Comedy Stop in Las ... Read More »

Assisted Living: The Musical

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Submitted Story Assisted Living: The Musical® comes to Marco Island when it is performed by its authors Compton & Bennett at Rose History Auditorium. It runs Friday, Saturday, February 8 and 9 at 7:30, and Sunday, February 10 in a 2:30 matinee show. The show, billed as “A Vaudeville…in the Varicose Vein,” delivers laughs from the opening scene in which a newly-departed couple is greeted in the afterlife not by Elvis, but by Tiny Tim. The show romps through the “best years of their lives” at Pelican Roost, an active senior living community oozing with characters who have unique answers ... Read More »

Marco Players LIVE!

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By Julia Barnett Nestled in Marco Island’s Town Center Plaza, The Marco Players’ theater sits waiting to be filled for its next show; for laughter, for tears, for the next story to come alive inside its walls. Now in its 38th season, the Marco Players is a non-profit theater company that began putting on productions in hotels, churches and other borrowed locales. It eventually found the Town Center Plaza space and has made it home for the last thirteen years. The theater is run by a board of directors, all very hands-on in their involvement, whether it be financially or ... Read More »

Art And Theater, Theater And Art

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Murder, mystery, danger, intrigue, puzzlement and humor are all words that describe the gamut of emotions experienced while watching the Marco Players Theater current play “The 39 Steps”. The same words can apply to the artwork that greets you as you enter the MPT’s gallery hallway. Setting the tone for the play are Ginny Mueller’s intriguing clay bugs along with the mysterious mix of multi-faceted elements in Clair Keery’s assemblages. Bill Moseley’s three stepped abstract acrylics lend a clue to the mystery to come while bits of torn paper put together in humorous puzzle fashion by artist Joanne Rose will ... Read More »

better than fiction: True Travel Tales From Great Fiction Writers

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BOOK REMARKS Maggie Gust winetaster13@gmail.com   Edited by Don George Lonely Planet Publications, 2012 I usually find collections of short stories a bore. If there are ten stories, only four are truly interesting and well-written. I was drawn to this book because I was intrigued by the title, “better than fiction,” which could be my mantra, and because “travel” is in the title (Ready – where are we going? is my other mantra). I had no inkling I would be writing about it in Book Remarks, but it was an unexpected delight and worth sharing. An editor and book reviewer for ... Read More »

Come Jam in The Hammock!

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MUSIC NOTES BY GATOR NATE Nate Augustus rubeejaw@aol.com Collier-Seminole State Park is a nice quiet spot, centrally located from Marco, Naples and Everglades City and a mere hop, skip and a jump away from any of them. The park is a wonderful place to enjoy the natural beauty of our area. The park offers visitors a number of year round activities, including camping, canoeing, hiking, fishing, boating, bicycling and exploring the cypress swamps. The salt marshes, mangrove river estuaries and pine flat woods of Collier Seminole hold many different native species. Among them, American alligators, raccoons, osprey, white ibis, wood storks, bald ... Read More »

Dogs Delight!

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By Coastal Breeze News Staff Audiences were completely won over by the shaggy Muttville Comix performers and their trainer, Johnny Peers. Johnny knows his way around an audience, being raised near the circus and graduating from the Ringling Clown School. He began working with dogs in the early 1990’s. There were 16 dogs in the show he brought to Marco. There was Joey the Fox Terrier, who walked backwards on two wires while Chico, a Chihuahua, walked underneath him in the opposite direction. One canine could leap through the air to Johnny’s arms, while others could dance, do a conga ... Read More »